Wildlife Diary Friday June 15th

We have a fabulous talk here coming up on Monday night, the 18th June. The Rutland Osprey Project have tracked their birds to West Africa and are working with local communities there to aiming to show school children the wide and diverse bird life that their country supports. To raise money for the project they’re doing the Three Peaks Challenge and are stopping here on their way north to give the talk. It’s free but donations are welcome. http://www.ospreys.org.uk/category/west-africa-project/

 “Osprey migration and developing wildlife education in West Africa”

7.30pm Monday 18th June

Loch of the Lowes Visitor Centre

Tea and coffee will be provided

More Osprey Q and A’s

 Q: Could any of the intruders at this nest be our females’ previous offspring?

A: Yes this is possible, in that many young ospreys return to their natal areas (after their ‘gap years’ in Africa) to find a place to breed themselves. The current theory is that male chicks are more likely to do this than females who seem to spread out more, perhaps instinctively to avoid too much inbreeding. The may visit their actual natal nest, or just the general area and will take up any opportunity at an unoccupied nest or with an eligible partner. If this isn’t successful, they then tend to spread out and try further afield.

Some of the intruders could also be other locally nesting ospreys who share the hunting area of our pair and have a habit of stopping by to cause mischief!

Q: Will we be naming the chick?

A: We don’t generally have a policy of naming our wild Ospreys but usually, when chicks are ringed, they are given the name suggested by their Darvic ring’s (coloured leg band) unique combination of letters and numbers.

Q: Will be still be ringing and satellite tagging the chick?

A: We are still hoping to be able to satellite tag and ring our single chick this year, but are awaiting expert advice from Roy Dennis who is booked to do this for us. Obviously it is more interesting and scientifically representative to do more than one chick from a nest at a time, but obviously we are still keen to take this opportunity to tag one of our famous female’s offspring whilst we still can. We will keep you up to date with the plans for tagging, which would be done in early July.

Q: How old is the oldest Osprey?

A: The oldest ever UK Osprey I am aware of was 28years old by Roy Denis’s reckoning.  In the USA the oldest known Osprey was 25 years, 2 months old. Worldwide the oldest recorded Osprey was “over thirty”. Bear in mind though, that scientific studies estimate that for every 100 ospreys hatched, only a very small number make it into their twenties ( less than 5) which gives you an idea of how remarkable our female is .

Q: Is there such a thing as Osprey Menopause?

A: We don’t yet know- though in most animals they continue to breed until the end. We presume that there may be some drop in fertility at an advanced age, but as there are so few Ospreys breeding into their 20’s this ahs been little studied. If our female is anything to go by, there is no sign of her being less fertile yet! In most cases, older Ospreys simply fail to cope with the rigors of migration, and don’t make it back to breed.

 Q: Is the Osprey camera black and white? Are there any plans to upgrade it?

A: No, there are no plans to replace the Osprey nest camera as it is already of high quality HD and brings a crystal clear colour picture into the Visitor Centre here. The loss of quality and colour comes when the images are distributed to the internet (we are working with the web streaming host company to improve this) and downloaded to your computer- different local broadband speeds and computer quality will affect the image you see.  We will continue to try to improve the quality of the webcam, and hope you continue to enjoy it.

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We have a fabulous talk here coming up on Monday night, the 18th June. The Rutland Osprey Project have tracked their birds to West Africa and are working with local …

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